Weddings are such a joyous, unforgettable occasion. But if you, like many, have become more eco-conscious over recent years, you may be wondering what you can do to reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint.
The good news? There are an abundance of environmentally friendly options available. Our wedding experts at Dine have curated the perfect guide for planning an eco-friendly wedding, so you can focus on enjoying the magic of the day guilt-free. From invitations to flowers – here’s everything you need to know.
10 ways to create an eco-friendly wedding
1. Opt for a vintage or recycled engagement ring
It all starts from the moment you flash that diamond ring and hope for a ‘YES’ – so why not start as you mean to go on?
Rather than having a new ring made, you could instead opt for a beautiful vintage engagement ring.
Or alternatively, if you have your heart set on creating something unique and one-of-a-kind, then work with a jeweller that uses recycled materials and opts for sustainable methods, to reduce the overall environmental impact.
2. Source sustainable wedding invitations
Save the date cards and invitations don’t have to end up in the bin once the celebration is over. There are many options to choose from which are both planet-friendly and impressive.
Of course, the simplest option is to forgo the physical versions completely and focus on delivering your good news digitally. This can be achieved tastefully via a personalised video invitation or even a simple email. There are also lots of tools and online platforms that will help you create your own wedding website complete with invitations (and even your registry).
If you much prefer the idea of having your invite sitting proudly on top of your invitee’s mantelpiece or on the fridge door, and enjoy the process of sending invites out, then you can still find eco-friendly physical options.
One natural idea is to use seed paper – which can be planted after use to grow wildflowers or herbs. How wonderful, to create something beautiful from the announcement of your special day!
Alternatively, you could opt to create your invite from recycling existing materials – some great examples include leather, wood or even fabrics.
3. Reduce your guestlist
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t need to have 100’s of people at your wedding to make it a really special day.
One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to cut down your guestlist – do you really need to invite that second cousin once removed who you’ve never really liked, anyway?
A further benefit of a smaller guestlist? More budget to spend on great food (and quality drinks!) for your guests. More champagne anyone?
4. Rent your wedding dress
Carrie Johnson certainly helped boost the trend of renting rather than buying your wedding dress, following her and Boris Johnson’s scaled-back affair in 2021.
Renting a wedding dress is a further way of reducing waste at your wedding, plus it avoids the pain of having to store something you’ll never wear again for the next 50 years!
There are plenty of trusted online sites where you can rent beautiful gowns from, just be sure to check that they use sustainable chemicals to wash dresses, so you’re getting a truly ethical option.
5. Opt for ethical wedding attire
If you’d rather buy a wedding dress to keep, or want your bridesmaid dresses to also follow suit in terms of sustainability, then forgo fast fashion and instead opt for ethical brands that use sustainable fabrics and processes.
6. Choose planet-friendly wedding favours
Yes – you can treat your guests and still be environmentally friendly! We’ve hand-picked some favourite options, but there really are hundreds you could go for. There are even dedicated websites focused entirely on ethical wedding favours so the choice really is yours.
Herbal teas in glass bottles
We love this whimsical style wedding favour. Not only a great way to add some charming decoration to your wedding table, but also something your guests can take home, enjoy and even use the glass bottle again!
Wildflower place cards
Similar to the wedding invitations mentioned before, wildflower place cards are made from seed paper, which will bloom when planted. Let your guests bring your special day to their garden and enjoy it for months to come.
Everyone loves a little luxury. Gift your guests some luxury handmade soaps packed full of essential and sustainable oils and butters.
Biscuit place cards
Who doesn’t like to be greeted by baked goods!? Make your place cards edible with beautifully decorated biscuits – complete with the guests name (in chocolate icing ideally!).
Keeping in with the natural theme, why not gift your guests an on-trend succulent selection. Easy to keep and a nice reminder of your love-filled day.
7. Consider seasonal (and sustainable!) wedding flowers
No wedding is complete without beautiful blooms, but have you considered choosing eco-friendly flowers? Here are some blooming lovely options.
Whilst they may not be for everyone, fabric flowers can add a fantastic retro feel to your wedding. From prints to bright colours – they really can create the perfect backdrop to your special day.
If cut flowers are what you’ve envisioned for your wedding day, then opt for seasonal and local blooms. These will require much less transportation and ultimately provide a reduced carbon footprint.
Consider using pot-friendly flowers such as orchids or spray roses. These can be used again – either by your guests or to decorate your home, as an ode to your most memorable day.
8. Decorate with eco-friendly alternatives
Let’s talk decoration details. All couples want their guests to be wowed as they walk into their wedding venue, and you can still achieve that wow-factor with sustainable decorations. Here’s a few we love.
Forgo the paper or plastic and add a touch of charm to your décor with cotton bunting. This can be recycled out of existing materials DIY style, or made sustainably by professionals.
Yes, this is a thing! Biodegradable balloons, whilst still not super environmentally friendly if released into the air, will degrade much faster than traditional ones made from non eco sources if disposed of correctly.
100% beeswax candles
Responsibly sourced, handcrafted candles are a great way to create a classy, romantic feel to your wedding venue.
Digital order of service
One way to cut back on throw-away items at your wedding is to go digital where you can. This can be in the form of a digital screen or projector showing the order of service, or even choosing to have the seating plan displayed on an iPad at the entrance.
9. Choose sustainable wedding confetti
Artificial confetti is known to be not only tricky to clear up but also generally bad for the natural environment. That being said, most couples long for those colourful wedding confetti shots that we’ve all become accustomed to.
Thankfully, there are other options. Opt for natural confetti such as lavender, rose petals, fresh herbs or biodegradable flower petals and you’ll still achieve that picture-perfect moment whilst being kind to the planet. At Dine, we only allow natural confetti at our venues.
10. Ultimately, donate, rent and recycle what you can
It’s quite likely there will be various things from your wedding day that you’ll have no use for afterwards – from décor to signage, flowers to outfits.
Avoid unnecessary waste by donating or recycling unwanted wedding goods to charity, local Facebook groups or friends planning their own wedding. There are also shops that will sell pre-loved wedding items.
And remember – most things can be rented. From glass and tableware, to clothing and decor. If you choose to rent this means less time sorting things afterwards and more time focusing on that wonderful honeymoon!
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